Æ preview – The Beautiful Game’s most beautiful game…

Nov 26 2010 | By More

Heroic Endeavour Trumps Outrageous Villainy at the Bongo Club

Seville '82

Philippe Tessier on saxophone in Seville '82

By Thom Dibdin

As Scotland’s football referees go on strike for the weekend, Edinburgh’s stages are host to a reminder of a first class game in which a clear and obvious foul went unpunished. A Scot, Robert Valentine, was on the touchline but it was Dutch referee Charles Corver who was in the middle, with Swiss Bruno Galler his other official.

Referees’ assistants were still called linesmen then, and the occasion – played before 70,000 fans in the The Sanchez Pizjuán Stadium in Seville – is remembered by French footballer Michel Platini as “my most beautiful game”.

It was the second semi-final of the 1982 World cup, in which France clashed with West Germany. Writing about the match in the Observer, Tim Pears described it as “a night on which heroic endeavour trumped outrageous villainy”.

“That was my most beautiful game,” the French captain Michel Platini is quoted as saying by Pears. “What happened in those two hours encapsulated all the sentiments of life itself. No film or play could ever recapture so many contradictions and emotions. It was complete. So strong. It was fabulous.”

Now, however, the French Institute and the French Film Festival are attempting to capture those very contradictions and emotions in Seville ’82, a “A Cinema TV Concert by Red + Tessier + Marinescu”.

The Red, Tessier and Marinescu Trio give the game their own “intense and personal interpretation”.  Mixing pop, rock and football while using image, sound and music, this is a “Cinema TV Concert which leads the audience into a unique, inventive and surprising vision of this game which has marked a whole generation of football fans”.

Great stuff! Although not quite the whole thing. Extra time and penalties meant the match on that muggy Seville night ran to 150 minutes. For this event, Director Christian Beuchet has edited 60 minutes version to which Red, on guitar, vocals and samples, Tonio Tessier on drums and Philippe Tessier on saxophones and samples add their own live interpretation.

And that dreadful foul which was missed by all the officials? It was by the German goalkeeper, Harald Schumacher, charging out of his goal to defend a shot from French substitute Patrick Battiston. Schumacher came in late, after Battiston had lobbed the ball over his head, turned his back on the helpless Frenchman as came in and hit him in the face with his hipbone, knocking out two teeth, cracking three ribs, damaging a vertebrae and rendering him unconscious for almost half an hour.

The Bongo Club, Sunday 27th, 8pm, £10.
Full details on the Bongo Club Website

Tim Pears’ extensive account of the match is available on the Guardian website.

The Myspace page for Seville ’82

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